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Evolution of the Online Conversation



Scoble’s 2007 Version

In 2007, Robert Scoble published the “Social Media Starfish” as pictured below (created by Scoble and Darren Barefoot). The premise is that all forms of social media are connected and I couldn’t agree more. Imagine you use Twitter to microblog and broadcast yourself, you use Flickr to post your photography that you share with your online friends and you are an avid blogger. They all are interconnected- some of your blog audience is your Twitter audience and some of your Twitter audience is your Flickr audience and so on and so forth.

Solis’ 2008 Version

While Scoble’s graph was sufficient for the time, social media has grown exponentially not only in options for applications but in actual users, rendering the “Social Media Starfish” lacking. This year, Brian Solis published “The Conversation Prism” that shows how social media has evolved (co-created with JESS3). What’s most intriguing to me is that Solis has captured the science of the social media movement of these applications overlapping, not just connecting.

click here for the enlarged version

Solis notes “conversations are taking place with or without you and this map will help you visualize the potential extent and pervasiveness of the online conversations that can impact and influence your business and brand.”

The takeaway of Solis’ Conversation Prism is that “in the social economy, relationships are the new currency.” We’ve been saying this for a while but Solis sums it up so concisely and eloquently. Kudos to Brian Solis for leading the evolution.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Chris de Jong

    August 13, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Fantastic post Lani! It is amazing to see the evolution of social media from one year to the next. Especially the emphasis that is put on Twitter – I guess it really is the next killer app!

    My RE take away from this would be that in order to capitalize on social media, real-estate professionals should try to position themselves at the center of this conversation, so they can take advantage of the discussions and turn them into business.

  2. Todd

    August 13, 2008 at 10:06 am

    “…Imagine you use Twitter to microblog and broadcast yourself, you use Flickr to post your photography that you share with your online friends and you are an avid blogger. They all are interconnected- some of your blog audience is your Twitter audience and some of your Twitter audience is your Flickr audience and so on and so forth.”

    FYI – The above is not only a good way to build up relationship currency, but it just so happens to be the the rumored way Google’s bots and crawlers assign ranking order displayed in a keyword search. “Relationship currency” and SEO are two sides of the same coin. 😉

  3. Joseph Bridges

    August 13, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    These tools, some new and some older, allow everyone to connect and build a better network. I don’t believe that “in the social economy, relationships are the new currency”. Relationships have always been currency and have always been valuable. These tools just allow everyone to have a greater reach and have more relationships. The core that relationships which lead to referrals and other opportunities hasn’t changed just the medium in which we connect with them.

  4. James Bridges

    August 13, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I think this helps show a great picture of social networking. I will say though looking at it I get an additional interpretation.
    Seeing as “The Conversion” is at the center it demonstrates that the value you aim to achieve is a combination of different forms of networking meeting to the point of value. Since each one overlaps, not intersects, it shows that participating in different networks will allow you to reach your conversion point (in real estate a referral or preferrably a sale 🙂 ).

  5. Sherry Baker

    August 13, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    What’s really amazing to me is that there are agents walking around who don’t have a CLUE about any of this… and when it’s presented to them, they just don’t care about it.

  6. Eric Blackwell

    August 13, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    I think the key to unlocking the potential of what you have brilliantly pointed out, Lani…is prioritizing which conversation places will yield the best conversations that will yield the best relationships between you and your customer.



  7. Vicki Moore

    August 13, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    And it’s a pretty flower too. Seriously seeing the visual enforces what I already knew – there are a ton of them and deciding where to put my time is going to become more and more crucial. Thank goodness many of them are linked and populate updates. All this in just a year.

    Sherry – If I wasn’t here I wouldn’t either. It invaluable to have it deciphered, thought out and presented by an expert in social media.

  8. Ruthmarie Hicks

    August 14, 2008 at 3:27 am

    This is totally overwhelming….At some point we have to tear ourselves away from the computer long enough to come out of our caves and be in the “real world.” Balance is key!

  9. Paula Henry

    August 14, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    The growth is Amazing! Seeing it in this format and now I know why I can’t keep up:( I need a social media assistant – yes, that’s the key – someone just like me.

  10. Matthew Rathbun

    August 16, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Whew… that makes me tired just looking at it. This is why I am glad to be with AG, Twitter, etc… I can find out what’s worth working on and what isn’t….

    Ruthemarie: I’ve got to tell you that I used to feel that way, but social media has made the world smaller and it’s becoming the real world. The folks that I meet through this system, I meet in person and talk to on the phone just as I do my church or my close friends. Matter of fact… I’ve introduced my friends, family and church folks to these systems which have REALLY enhanced all those relationships.

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Social Media

Facebook wants your nudes now to protect you from revenge porn later

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook, attempting to get in front of revenge porn, is requesting that users send in all of their nudes.




In a heroic and totally innovative attempt to combat revenge porn, Facebook has come up with the following solution: “PM US UR NUDEZ.”

No seriously. They want your nudes.

But don’t worry, they’re only going to be viewed by a small group of people for manual confirmation of said nudes, and then stored temporarily… for reasons.

That part gets a little fuzzy. Some sources report that Facebook isn’t actually storing the images, just the links. This is meant to convert the image to a digital footprint, known as a hash, which is supposed to prevent the content from being upload to Facebook again.

Others say Facebook only stores the images for a short period of time and then deletes them.

What we do know, is this is a new program being tested in Australia where Facebook has partnered with a small government agency known as e-Safety and is requesting intimate or nude photos that could potentially be used for revenge porn in an effort to pre-emptively prevent such an incident.

Revenge porn is basically when someone uploads your personal and private photos online without your consent. Rather than address the issue of whether or not it’s such a good idea to take photos on a mobile, hackable device, it’s better to just send a large corporation all your nudes… through their Messenger app. /sarcasm

For your protection.

According to the commissioner of the e-Safety office, Julie Inman Grant, however, they’re using artificial intelligence and photo-matching technologies… and storing the links!

If this isn’t convincing enough, British law firm Mishcon de Reya LLP wrote in a statement to Newsweek, “We would expect that Facebook has absolutely watertight systems to guard the privacy of victims. It is quite counter-intuitive to send such intimate images to an unknown recipient.”

Oh, she wasn’t joking.

I’m not sure how many people still hold onto old intimate photos of themselves, but I am doubtful that it’s enough for this to really be effective as it only prevents intimate photos from being shared on Facebook. At least that’s the plan.

Reactions to this announcement have largely been met with amusement and criticism ranging from commentary on Mark Zuckerberg and Co. being total pervs, and theories of shared Facebook memories: “”Happy Memories: It’s been 1 Year since you uploaded 47 pictures of you in your birthday suit”!

Either way, I can only imagine someone’s inbox is flooded with crotch shots right now, and Zuckerberg has a potential new industry in the works.

Just sayin’.

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Social Media

Twitter might make a profit for the first time… ever

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter seems to be very popular but it may surprise you to know that this is the very first time they might make a profit.



twitter social media posts content twitter

Twitter reports that after a year of slashing expenses and putting itself in a position to sell data to other companies, it’s expected to be profitable. What’s surprising (considering how #huge Twitter is) is that this the first time that it will be profitable based on “generally accepted accounting principles” – #GAAP!.

In the 11 years since Twitter took to the field, it has never once met this standard, operating at a loss of nearly 2.5 billion dollars since its inception.

Twitter has struggled of a number of reasons, but particularly after going public in 2013 it suffered declining user growth, the rise of the #twittertrolls (coincidentally, Troll’s are discussed in my favorite TIME piece about the internet – located here), and competition from Facebook for the tough realm of advertising.

Since 2013, shares fell steadily, but things have increased thanks to some optimistic changes – the promise to crack down on harassment and abuse, a feed arranged by algorithm instead of time, and Twitter’s most vocal fan of late, President Donald Trump.

For the numbers fans, Reuters provides some input: Twitter’s loss narrowed to about 21 million down from 103 million this year. They have worked to cut a great deal of expenses -16 percent across the board broadly impacting sales, marketing, and R&D.

This kind of focused core improvement (can) help tip the balance sheet on the expenses side – but generating revenues remains a challenge due to slow growth. Twitter hopes to relieve this by working out some deals to sell data – the currency of the 21st century.

Several months ago, TechCrunch made perhaps the most important observation – that despite the fact Twitter has changed the world, changed our marketing, and empowered us to connect with other people, it has remained unprofitable. Many small and large businesses profit from Twitter, but in these 11 years the company hasn’t #sharedinthewealth.

Twitter is touching every realm of business and for American’s, is touching every aspect of their lives given its new form as the preferred medium of the political sphere. Given that, they have much to do to change.

Facebook commands an audience five times the size of Twitter – and their ability to reach success for the future seems #questionable. And how Twitter’s success changes the scape of influence, outreach, and entrepreneurship is something else to be seen.

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Social Media

Is Facebook a potential Slack killer?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook’s steady ascent from social networking into the business world is giving Slack a run for their money.



slack facebook

When it comes to the business realm, Facebook has steadily been increasing their reputation. Though Facebook is pinned as the social network, they are now proving to everyone that they can dominate in the professional sector as well.

Last year, Facebook launched an ad-free version of the site meant for the office called Workplace. Initially, 1,000 companies were signed on to try out this “Facebook for the office” in its starter phase.

As of last week, Facebook announced that 30,000 organizations currently use Workplace. These aren’t just small time companies. Some of Workplace’s users include Starbucks, Lyft, Spotify, Heineken, Delta and most recently Walmart.

It seems that overnight it grew from another side project to a valid rival for other professional communication tools like Slack.

Slack is the go-to site for business professionals. With over 6 million users and acquiring more every day, Slack is the place for teams to collaborate in real-time. It has virtually replaced email and external software when it comes to internal communication.

Slack has been successful at acquiring small corporations to use their service.

The problem is that Slack has yet to join forces with larger clients that have now turned to other applications. Just last year, Uber left Slack because they could not handle their large-scale communication needs.

In addition to being able to handle the needs of large companies, Facebook also offers cheaper services than Slack. A premium account with Workplace costs $3 per user each month while Slack charges double at $6.67 per user each month.

With the rapid growth and major reputation of Facebook behind it, many predict that Workplace will replace Slack, and other sites like it, in the not so distant future.

Recently, Facebook also launched the Workplace desktop app and plan to include group video chat. The biggest obstacle Workplace faces is the association with Facebook. It is ironic, since it is also their greatest strength.

The truth remains that many people think of Facebook solely as a social media network. Many companies forbid the use of it at work so the transition from the personal to the professional realm is still an uphill battle.

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